The summit of success.
Improving reading skills. Developing child care standards. Fighting crime. Clothing the homeless. "Carelifting" medical supplies. All are areas in which associations are making a significant impact.
Last year, the American Society of Association Executives singled out five association programs as outstanding examples of what associations are doing to help solve this country's most pressing social problems. The five associations behind these successful programs received the Summit Award, the highest level of recognition in ASAE's Associations Advance America Awards program.
Chosen from 504 entries, these association programs demonstrate what a powerful force in American society associations truly are. Meet the winners.
The American Apparel Manufacturers Association, Arlington, Virginia, created the Apparel Foundation in 1988 to facilitate and increase the donation of surplus apparel to the needy and homeless in this country and to disaster victims around the world. To date, the foundation has donated more than $54 million worth of surplus apparel to more than 250 charitable organizations in this country and to 15 countries overseas.
The foundation was the only nonprofit, nonmedical, non-food-related organization to airlift supplies into Armenia after its disastrous earthquake. The foundation has since donated apparel to survivors of Hurricane Hugo, Hurricane Andrew, and Hurricane Iniki, and to Romanian orphans and Afghan refugees. The American Public Health Association (APHA), Washington, D.C., collaborated with the American Academy of Pediatrics, Elk Grove Village, Illinois, to develop the first-ever standards for out-of-home child care facilities.
Five years in the making, the standards took into account the input of more than 1,000 volunteer experts, who contributed their knowledge of children's health and safety needs. Once the child care standards were developed, care givers, legislators, educators, health professionals, consumers, and health and regulatory agencies in five states and two cities reviewed them. The resulting 981 standards, 77 licensing and regulation recommendations, and 39 handy-reference appendices were developed for use by parents of children enrolled in child care, child care providers, health professionals, and accreditation and credentialing agencies. APHA has distributed the standards manual, entitled Caring for Our Children, to the child care director in each state and to child care advocates and public officials in the states.
Determined to assist children hampered by poor reading skills and little incentive to learn, the Houston Automobile Dealers Association (HADA), Sugar Land, Texas, sponsored a program to help young readers help themselves. "Earning by Learning," in its second year, provided a monetary reward for each book an "at-risk" student read.
The results of Earning by Learning were striking: In 1992, 1,179 children read 9,432 books and earned a total of $18,864. With $50,000 of its own and $100,000 in grants, HADA has since broadened the program to yearlong in 77 Houston schools with some 5,000 students. HADA has convinced car dealer groups in five Texas cities and 16 states and major U.S. cities to launch similar programs. Each year for the past six years, the National Association of Chiefs of Police, Miami, Florida, has polled every police chief and sheriff in the United States (21,000 departments) to measure national issues and the success or failure of programs that have been used to fight crime. The questionnaire used by NACP contains approximately 30 questions that deal with subjects such as the death penalty, firearms, staffing, pending laws before Congress, police ethics and training, and other national issues.
Based on the responses, NACP is able to advise the media, members of Congress, the White House, and law enforcement agencies about important national issues for which police feel they need help.
The New Jersey Hospital Association, Princeton, combined the efforts of 35 member hospitals to "carelift" 40 tons of donated medical supplies to Moscow hospitals in dire need. Since the carelift, NJHA's program has been the impetus for the American Hospital Association's "World Hospital Program," which involves hospitals and hospital associations nationwide.
"Operation Carelift" has spawned a new Section 50(c)(3) organization that solicits donations of supplies and money to sustain ongoing humanitarian relief efforts. NJHA's efforts also have prompted volunteer efforts in the former Soviet Union, where nonprofit organizations coordinated the arrival of "Operation Carelift" in Moscow, the distribution of donated supplies outside of the black market, and the delivery of supplies to hospitals.
Lorri Lee, ASAE's director of public relations, is accredited in public relations. This article first appeared in the August 1993 issue of Association Management.